Tracker Pixel for Entry

Putting down roots in Fargo

by John Showalter | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | Culture | September 6th, 2017

If there are two things we seem to enjoy in Fargo they’re good beer and good food. Whether we’re talking about the preponderance of new and expanding breweries in the last several years or the plethora of new restaurants that come to our town, we can’t get our fill.

Despite the increase in restaurants, however, our food store dynamic has seemed to stay relatively the same. A few Hornbachers, some international grocers, a couple of health food stores and the obligatory big boxes.

I’ve heard it joked that Fargo is the new Portland of the Midwest, however, and perhaps for that reason we’re finally seeing a new change in that dynamic, with the opening of Prairie Roots Food Co-Op.

Jodi Regan, the marketing coordinator of the new co-op, explained to me how the soon-to-open Prairie Roots will bring something wholly new to the Fargo area. The co-op, which is set to open between September 6 and September 9, is drastically different than anything we’ve experienced in this town.

“Prairie Roots is a community-owned co-op that focuses on bringing healthy foods to everyone in Fargo-Moorhead,” said Regan. On top of offering interviews to curious reporters like myself, Regan also “gets the word out about all the cool vendors we have, events we host, membership benefits you can get, and social missions we work to implement.”

The store will specialize in offering natural, local, and organic food options to its shoppers. Those options run the gamut: vegan, gluten-free, grain free, dairy free, grass-fed milk and beef, and free-range eggs. There will also be a sandwich bar that serves made-to-order smoothies, a hot bar, a salad bar, grab-and-go foods, kombucha on tap, and the ability to buy in bulk.

You may be thinking that this doesn’t sound much different from the other health food store options there currently are in Fargo, like Tochi, Swanson, or Natural Grocers. There are a few fundamental differences between them and Prairie Roots, however.

First, a large percentage of the food that will be sold in Prairie Roots will be provided by local growers, producers and makers. “We sell local veggies and herbs of course, be we also carry local hot sauce, regional kimchi, local dog treats, honey, soap, and regional salsa, maple syrup, cookies, and more!” said Regan.

The second fundamental difference lies in the name of Prairie Roots. “Co-Op” is not just a name, it’s a business model, and one that is unique in our area. Though you do not have to be a member to shop at Prairie Roots, being one is where the perks come in.

“A cooperative exists to serve its members,” said Regan, “but what makes co-ops unique is that the members are also the owners. So, in addition to getting the services and products you need, you also have a say in the business decisions your cooperative makes.”

The people who originally wanted Prairie Roots to exist floated the idea in 2010 and became owners back in 2011 when they incorporated, said Regan, and since then they have expanded to almost thirty-three employees, all of whom have a say in how the store is run.

“Rather than rewarding outside investors with its profits, a co-op returns surplus revenue to its members in proportion to how much they use the co-op. This democratic approach to business results in a powerful economic force that benefits the co-op, its members and the community it serves,” Regan added.

Some might cynically pass off an idea like this as appealing to a certain demographic of hipsters and the like, but that is not the case. When I asked Jodi Regan what demographic Prairie Roots would appeal to, she said, “Honestly, people who eat. And then probably more specifically, people who want to eat healthily and connect with where their food comes from and how it's made.”

Speaking of connecting with the origin of your food, Prairie Roots will also have tastings and food demonstrations from local and regional food makers, with everything from meatballs and cheese to crackers, granola, and chocolate. There will also be local farmers visiting from noon to 2pm each day, talking about why they farm the way they farm.

If you want to keep track of further developments with Prairie Roots or are considering becoming a member, be sure to visit them in person or on their website. “It's an honor to help the Co-Op come to fruition for a community who has been waiting a long time for its arrival,” Regan concluded.

YOU SHOULD KNOW

Prairie Roots Co-Op Grand Opening Celebration 

Noon Sept 6 to noon Sept 9; normal business hours Mon-Sat 8-8; Sun 10-6 

1213 NP Ave, at University Dr; 701-478-0300 

Four full days of live music, free tastings, yoga, producer talks, giveaways. If you haven’t been, a good chance to check it out. Impressive variety, items you can’t get elsewhere; true co-op structure with benefits and ownership by members. 

Recently in:

BISMARCK – The Dakota Access Pipeline developer agreed to plant trees to reach a settlement over two misconduct allegations while constructing the pipeline on Wednesday. A total of 20,000 trees are to be planted by December 31,…

photo by Meg Luther Lindholm.Ibtissem (pronounced Ib-tiss-em) Belmihoub is both enjoying her time in Fargo as a doctoral student in Rhetoric, Writing and Culture at NDSU and a community volunteer. She is currently the Project…

Wed-Fri, September 27-29, 8pm; Sat-Sun, 2pmComstock Theatre, Concordia College, 901 8th St S, MoorheadIt is October, 1517, at Wittenberg University in northern Germany, where students and faculty begin another academic year. A…

Our opinion: We’re more than the sum of our partsOver the weekend I was telling a friend of mine that one of the most valuable things a person can gain in life is perspective. My time at the High Plains Reader has gifted me just…

What kind of characters would charge $99 for a case of water?In the days before the solar eclipse safety glasses sold for $8.95 for a five-pack of certified glasses. The day before the eclipse the price was raised to $59. During…

The moment of truth has arrived. After seven weeks of sampling and judging some of the finest libations in the area the results for this year’s Cocktail Showdown have arrived. Christopher Larson, Raul Gomez and Sabrina Hornung…

Brand new and satisfying in so many waysI ventured into Tru Blu on Sunday at noon. As soon as I entered I was immediately astonished by the interior. It’s gorgeous! The brown tufted booths and dark wood give the impression that…

Fall is arriving, and that of course means that the new season of the Fargo-Moorhead Symphony Orchestra’s “Masterworks” series sponsored by Sanford Health is right around the corner.In the last couple concert seasons they…

Rom-coms are a staple of modern movies and have been for well over a century. This summer two very different variations on the genre spotlighting iconic 20th-century superstars made their Blu-ray debuts from Kino-Lorber. One is a…

The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards are presented by the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers. This nonprofit organization described their mission as “To identify students with their exceptional artistic and literary talent and…

‘Heathers’ hits the Empire stage in Grand ForksBefore the pink-clad Plastics or Cher’s group of popular beauties in “Clueless,” the shoulder pad-wearing, croquet mallet-wielding Heathers ruled the halls of Westerberg High…

Humor

​Talking to strangers

by Sabrina Hornung

“I don’t have a tour, like, on the back of a sweatshirt,” comedian Paula Poundstone says. “I go out every weekend. This weekend I went out Friday, Saturday and Monday. Mostly it’s Friday/Saturday or Thursday through…

Up here where it’s north of normal, we can pretty much count on our first cold snap to hit right about now, and the 90 degree day we JUST HAD seems like a distant memory. Goodbye pool parties, BBQs and the patio hang sesh. Hello…

Essential oils. They are all the buzz lately. It seems everyone has heard of them or is purchasing them. Some people know how to use them; others are just interested in the wonder of their complex scents.Essential oils are as…

Live and Learn

​The other shoe

by HPR Contributor

By Elizabeth Nawrotnawrot@mnstate.eduI look up from my hotel lobby breakfast astonished to see a framed print of Wassily Kandinsky's "Mit und Gegen,” a masterpiece of color and composition that just happens to be my favorite…

By Robert Franklin, Esq.parents@nationalparentsorganization.orgIn North Dakota, a child’s chances of spending meaningful time with each parent following divorce have less to do with his parents than what county they divorce…